The Firstborn Laestadianism
Firstborn Laestadians are a subgroup within Laestadianism. The "Firstborn" are known for their traditionalism and their conservative pietistic ideals, and they seek to avoid "worldly pleasures". The name "Firstborn" relates to the Bible, Hebr. 12:23, which mentions "the church of the firstborn" (KJV). American and Canadian congregations always use the King James Version of the Bible. In Finland, the Finnish Bible Version of the year 1776 is used. Both Bible versions are based on the Textus Receptus.
In Sweden this group is often known as "West Laestadians". They have adopted a more critical attitude towards the Church of Sweden than other Laestadians. There are many Firstborn Laestadian congregations in the U.S., Canada, Finland and Norway, one congregation in Denmark and some activity in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Great Britain as well.
In the US and Canada the "Firstborn" are found in the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church. There are congregations e.g. in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, Delaware, North Carolina, New York, Washington D.C and Connecticut. In America the "Firstborns" are the greatest Laestadian subgroup.
The "Firstborn" all over the world consider the congregation in Swedish Lapland, where the Laestadian movement began, as a mother congregation. Christmas meetings in Gällivare, Sweden, are the most important annual event for the "Firstborn" Laestadians.
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